Irish theologian criticizes US bishops for making Humanae Vitae into ‘a fetish’

(NCR Online) A leading Irish theologian has accused the American bishops of an act of “utter irresponsibility” for making Humanae Vitae into “a fetish” by which the Catholic church is publicly known.

In a talk on “What Needs Reform in the Church?” Augustinian Fr. Gabriel Daly said the 1968 papal encyclical which banned contraception had never been accepted by the church at large.

Addressing members of the reform group We Are Church Ireland at the Milltown Institute of Philosophy and Theology in Dublin, the priest accused traditionalists of parading church teaching “unscrupulously as a kind of weapon.”

“They claim that because Paul VI in 1968 published an encyclical letter, Humanae Vitae, that renewed the ban on contraception, all his successors are bound by his teaching, because it is ‘church teaching,’ and not even popes can touch it,” he said. “This is nonsense, but few Catholics would be prepared to say so.”

The 88-year-old, who lectured in theology for 30 years at Trinity College Dublin and the Jesuit-owned Milltown Institute, argued that to describe Pope Paul VI’s view of contraception as “the unchangeable teaching of the church” is theologically unacceptable to many modern theologians and historians and it presents the church as hopelessly out of touch with today’s world. [More]

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NCR Online